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AFGHANISTAN: Karzai blasts 'interference'

President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United Nations and the international community Thursday, accusing them of interfering in last year's presidential election and of seeking to weaken his authority after parliament rejected his bid to expand his control over the country's electoral institutions. He did not mention the United States, but his harsh words, and his practice of blaming foreigners for the nation's problems, reflect his increasingly difficult relations with Washington and its allies. President Barack Obama visited Sunday in hope of setting a new tone in dealings with the Afghan leader as the U.S.-led coalition prepares for a showdown with the Taliban this summer in Kandahar. Karzai acknowledged there had been "vast fraud" in the August vote, which returned him for a second, five-year term. But he blamed it on the UN and other foreign organizations.

GUINEA-BISSAU: Soldiers attempt a coup

Mutinous soldiers seized the head of the armed forces Thursday and placed the prime minister under house arrest in an apparent coup attempt in the tiny coup-plagued African nation where the president was assassinated last year. A crowd gathered outside Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr.'s office in the capital, Bissau, in a show of support for the detained leader as martial music played on radio, code for a military-led coup. Soldiers surrounded the prime minister's office around 8 a.m., said press attache Mamodou Djau, who arrived after the soldiers made off with Gomes and a cabinet member. Djau said Gomes was taken to a military camp before being driven back to his residence and he appeared to be under house arrest.

GAZA: Israeli jets strike back

Israeli aircraft struck multiple targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday following a rocket attack on southern Israel. The Israelis said aircraft struck two weapons-making factories and two weapons-storage facilities. Hamas officials said 10 sites were hit: a cheese factory, a movie-making complex and areas where militants train. The Israelis said the strikes responded to a rocket attack Thursday.

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